Groom behind ‘dress that broke the internet’ charged with trying to kill wife

Keir Johnston is alleged to have carried out an almost 11-year campaign of domestic violence and coercive control.

The Dress: Groom behind ‘dress that broke the internet’ charged with trying to kill wife

A husband who went viral after a dress bought for his wedding “broke the internet” has appeared in court accused of attempting to murder his wife.

Keir Johnston, from the Isle of Colonsay, gained worldwide fame when the mother of the bride at his 2015 wedding wore a dress that sparked a global debate over its true colours – black and blue or white and gold.

Nicknamed “the dress that broke the internet”, it became a social media storm when it was first shared on Tumblr by wedding guest Caitlin McNeill, who appealed for help in solving the colour dilemma.

Johnston, who attended the High Court in Glasgow on Monday, is alleged to have conducted an almost 11-year campaign of serious domestic violence and coercive control culminating in the attempt on his wife’s life.

The 38-year-old faces allegations that he repeatedly assaulted his wife at their home on the Isle of Colonsay, before brandishing a knife and attempting to strangle her.

Johnston’s charges include, between April 2019 and March 2022, pushing his wife against a wall, shouting at her and throttling her, before threatening to kill her.

He is also alleged to have attempted to enter a vehicle that his wife was in and striking her through its open window.

Johnston also allegedly placed his wife in a headlock and dragged her from a pub after she refused to leave with him.

Further charges claim he isolated his wife from her friends and monitored her movements and her finances, controlling the amount of money that she had access to.

When he first hit the headlines the image of the dress was generating up to 11,000 tweets per minute under the hashtag #TheDress.

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift also chipped in.

Following its initial popularity, the dress then featured in a domestic abuse campaign by the Salvation Army, who created an advert showing a bruised and beaten woman clad in a white and gold dress.

The poster features a tagline reading: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue? The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”

The couple went on to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where they were handed $10,000 and a trip to Grenada after revealing the dress was indeed black and blue.

Johnston denies all charges against him, with the case continued for a further preliminary hearing ahead of a trial in 2024.